I recently read Jeff Miller’s letter titled “Prayer still doesn’t work” (Dec. 11). It was filled with ad hominem attacks and irrelevant information (e.g., how many times $17 trillion can circle the equator).
What’s most conspicuous about the letter is the straw-man argument he presented. Mr. Miller examined one prayer offered by a group of people that did not turn out the way the believers wanted; he then concluded that prayer doesn’t work. He makes mention of an example he gave last year concerning the same issue and “hope[s] to be back in 2014 with another update.”
The first mistake in his argument is failing to realize that “no” is an answer. Mr. Miller makes mention of “that never-answered prayer.” God does not owe us an affirmative response to prayer. He has the sovereign right to turn us down.
The second mistake Mr. Miller makes is related to the first. We, as parents, often tell our children “no” because of their actions. This is called accountability. We – as a nation – have been irresponsible with our finances and are now paying the price. Should God just give us a free pass because He is full of mercy? God holds us responsible for our actions, and that can mean He will decline our request.
The third mistake Mr. Miller makes is a failure to understand that God has morally sufficient reasons to allow something we may not want. We recognize this principle in other parts of life. I remember the first time I heard my drill instructor scream, “No pain, no gain!” To be properly trained for combat, I endured much in Parris Island. It may be that it is time for our country to feel greater pain in order for us to right this ship.
Mr. Miller did a good job of pointing out the real problem: Congress has spent our nation’s money with “recklessness.” So let us not blame God for leaving us to our own devices. After all, we have chosen to dismiss Him from many parts of our culture, and it looks as though He may be respecting our wishes.
Marvin R. Patrick